Skip to main content

News and Media

Open Main MenuClose Main Menu
young children stand in a line and do squats holding weights

Athletic Training - Sports Medicine ECHO fills vital health care gap for young athletes

Monday, June 24, 2024

Media Contact: Sydney Trainor | Communications and Media Relations Specialist | 405-744-9782 |

Breakthrough virtual teaching program primed to expand reach as it marks one-year anniversary  

The Oklahoma State University Athletic Training – Sports Medicine Project ECHO line is celebrating one year of potentially life-saving impact on fields and courts throughout Oklahoma and beyond.  

An estimated 70% of Oklahoma schools do not have access to a trainer for their student-athletes, leaving them vulnerable to injury without the proper tools and personnel to safeguard their health and well-being at all levels of competition. Schools lose a crucial opportunity to impact their students’ future health, and coaches and administrators lack access to the best practices of this burgeoning health care field.  

The Athletic Training – Sports Medicine ECHO was created in 2023 to address this gap in the identification, reduction and treatment of sports-related injuries through the Project ECHO knowledge-sharing format.

“Athletic trainers save lives,” said Lance Walker, Rick and Gail Muncrief executive director of the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute. “The OSU Athletic Training – Sports Medicine ECHO line is giving voice to these unsung heroes who are on the frontline of school and community sports programs, helping young lives safely navigate the joys and hazards of athletic competition.”  

Project ECHO provides access to specialty care for complex health conditions like those that affect athletes. In its first year, 20 athletic training sessions addressed complex sports issues such as concussions, mental health concerns in young athletes, adolescent stroke, return-to-play criteria, joint dislocation and more.  

These sessions reached more than 870 participants and gave out more than 479 free continuing medical education credits. 

Project ECHO plugs into a hub-and-spoke tele-mentoring model to move expert knowledge to more rural and underserved communities via a virtual presentation program the OSU Center of Health Sciences delivers twice a month. 

Participants in the online program discuss challenges with a multidisciplinary team of experts in athletic training, sports medicine, counseling and nutrition. Users log in each session from various states and even across international boundaries.  

“All teach and all learn is the mantra of Project ECHO, and it certainly applies in the Athletic Training – Sports Medicine ECHO, where members and experts share case information and real-life experiences on the chosen topic of the day,” Walker said. “Our team of experts keep logging in regularly because we are learning from these frontline health care providers who have an inside track to the lives of student-athletes.  

“The participation level has only grown throughout the year as this underserved group of health care providers is finding value in the best practices shared each session.”   

Participants include athletic trainers, coaches, school athletic directors, nurses, physician assistants, physical therapists, rural physicians and school administrators.  

“We’ve tapped into a group who are hungry for information to better help the students they serve and the Project ECHO format is ideal for sharing online the latest in research, medical practice and sports injury management guidelines to arm them as they head back into the courts, arenas and fields of play every week,” said Aric Warren, OSU-CHS athletic training professor, and hub team lead. “These health care providers may be the only access many students have to quality care, nutrition and fitness information and mentoring to put them on a sound path to a healthy future. We can’t even measure that kind of lifetime success.”  

This virtual professional development resource has been especially helpful for rural school districts, which may not have access to these resources.  

“The depth and breadth of information, knowledge, wisdom and skill is amazing on the athletic training ECHO,” said Jim Mansfield, Holland Hall School athletic trainer in Tulsa. “It's a great melting pot of backgrounds. So, this way we can get a broader perspective, different viewpoint, different angle, different ideologies.” 

The OSU Athletic Training – Sports Medicine ECHO is sponsored and coordinated by HPNRI and OSU-CHS. Sessions are held from noon to 1 p.m., on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month.  

“The ECHO brings to light different topics that we may not think of as physical therapist or just provides a different perspective hearing from athletic trainers, PTs, MDs, DOs, all involved in the same conversation,” physical therapist Nicole Parrish said. “It takes a collaboration of ideas, and we all need to be on the same page working for the betterment of these athletes, keeping these kids involved in sports, keeping these kids active, so the next generation is active. We're all in it for the kids.” 

Back To Top
SVG directory not found.